28.09.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Don't mention Brexit. Please.
 
Smile for the camera, everyone. That's it. Keep smiling. We're a united party who are serious about improving this country. 

It's tricky, this government lark. Want proof? Since last year's conference, we've got replacements for the Home Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Brexit Secretary, the Defence Secretary, the Education Secretary, the Health Secretary and more. Some were fired, some resigned, some promoted. It just serves as a little reminder of how tough it's been. 

And what's been at the heart of the difficulty? Yep. Brexit. Keeping everyone on the same page has proved to be an impossible task for Theresa May. She's tried playing hardball. She's tried compromising. She's tried almost everything. The trouble is there are just many, many different approaches to the Brexit question in her party, and she can't please all of them. Boris Johnson and Anna Soubry are just never, ever going to agree on the best future of the country. 

While the Prime Minister knows that Brexit will flow through almost everything in Birmingham next week, she will do her best to focus on the domestic. Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary is hidden away in a morning full of other big hitters. There is clearly an intention to keep the headlines elsewhere. To have a conference where the party can unite behind a vision for the country. Plans for the economy and for public services. 

When Theresa May became PM, she delivered a speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street about fighting the burning injustices in the country. She's been a little distracted from that fight by Brexit. This week will see the party return to that theme and build on it. 

Saturday - The family show is at the Hertford Theatre. It's going to be ace. But. It's sold out. Come and join us in Colchester in November instead!

Sunday - Marr will be live from Birmingham for the Conservative Conference. It will be worth watching.

The first major session at conference is 'Global Britain'. We've got Liam Fox (International Trade man), Gavin Williamson (Defence man), Penny Mordaunt (International Development lady) and, your headline act for the afternoon, Jeremy Hunt (Foreign Affairs man). 
 
Monday - How do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a healthy amount of discussion about the economy. So, lucky me, conference is all economy all morning. Well. Mostly. They've called the session 'An economy that works for everyone'. And it has got the positions that you'd expect. Work and Pensions. Business. The Chancellor. But they've shoehorned Brexit and Transport into this session, too. Whatever. It's going to be a pretty packed morning.

The afternoon is a little less busy. Four main speeches as opposed to five and they're less high profile roles. We've got Jeremy Wright, Micheal Gove, Ruth Davidson and James Brokenshire. The session is supposed to be about 'Opportunity for future generations'. It may be a little tenuous.


Tuesday - The full name of the party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. So it makes sense to have a morning dedicated to the Union. Ministers for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will all be present and correct. We've also got Davids Lidington and Gauke thrown in for good measure. And the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid to wrap things up. 

If you think that public services are just for Labour types, you may be interested to tune in this afternoon. We've got Education and Health speeches. It'll be interesting to see the Conservative vision for these areas.


Wednesday - Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for the main event of the week. For the hundreds in attendance and the millions watching around the world, it's time to welcome the leader of the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the orchestrator of Brexit herself..... Theresa May!

I wonder what music she'd come onto if there was a full boxing introduction. The big TM arriving on stage in a hooded dressing gown. Shadow boxing. Let me know your suggestions. 

Anyway, yes, it's the PM's speech. She's going to focus on the domestic, apparently. Return to those burning injustices. Remind people that she has an agenda that's not just Breixt. Put her pitch in to continue in the role of PM beyond the Brexit leaving day, so that maybe, just maybe, she'll be back in the PM's headline slot this time next year.

Thursday - A day off! No conferences. No key note speeches. No live tweeting from SP. Sweet, sweet rest.

Friday - We've had all the big ones. Lib Dems, Labour, Conservative (and, er.... UKIP), so now comes the chasing pack. Today sees the start of the Green Party conference. I can tell you that they have a leader's speech at 2 pm. But they have two leaders, Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley, and it doens't say which one will be speaking. Maybe it's supposed to be a bit of a surprise. How exciting. 

Also, today is the start of the Plaid Cymru conference. Their leader, Leanne Wood, will be speaking at 1.45. So will clash with the Green Party leader's speech. I'd imagine that this will make it harder to gain coverage, so that might change as we go through the week. 
Two sell-out shows this week - Bristol and Hertford. If you'd like to come to Manchester of Colchester, make sure you book in plenty of time!
Manchester tickets!
Colchester tickets!
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